Lightening Source (which prints on demand) is opening in Melbourne in June 2011. TIME magazine has called it the “ATM for books”. As a writer and future-publisher, I’m very excited about this prospect and look forward to seeing the way it changes the bookselling market in Australia.
How it works (in a nutshell):
Lightening Source keeps an electronic catalogue of books – with currently over 4.4 million titles - that can be printed on demand and shipped in 12-24 hours to booksellers, publishers or distributors. The best part is that Print on Demand (POD) can print as little as one copy per title upon request. Previously, booksellers were having to wait weeks, sometimes months, for backlist book orders to be processed, as there was no cost efficient way to print small numbers of particular titles. POD allows the consumer to choose their own binding and trimming of the book, and it assures that each copy has been checked for quality control. Lightening Source operates globally, with offices in the UK, USA and Europe, and it promotes accessibility within the international publishing industry.
Benefits of POD:
- Books will essentially never go out of print, and can be purchased quickly and easily. (There is a book I’ve been searching for for years, but it is out of print and virtually untraceable. POD will eliminate this problem for book consumers).
- Australia should see a drive in sales, as more books will be available for purchase. This in turn should see a rise in author royalties (not a dramatic rise, but money is still money) and bookseller and publisher incomes.
- POD will reduce storage space and funds for large publishing distribution factories. This saves money, paper and space.
- Books are in print and available without the fear of publishers over-printing (and having to deal with returns and financial losses), and booksellers over purchasing titles (without ever selling them all).
- POD will be beneficial for self-published authors who can now start with smaller print runs (perhaps only 100 copies) and then print more according to sale requirement.
- POD will be beneficial for online journals that would like to have the option for their readers to POD.
- Lightening Source is able to sell books on the publisher’s behalf and the publisher still gets paid the wholesale price of the book, minus the print cost.
Here is an interesting youtube video on the Espresso Book Machine.
For more information, check out the Lightening Source website.
Is anyone else excited for POD?